Joshua Smith, aka maverick illustrator Hydro74, has a style that’s instantly recognisable  – combining the thick, clean lines of graffiti with the iconography of tattoos and the symmetry and patterns of vector art. Here he takes you through how he created his latest work, based around his regular motifs of skulls  and swirls mixed with this spring/summer’s illustration icon, the owl.

See also: 83 Best Photoshop tutorials

As you follow this tutorial, you’ll discover lots of tricks to help you create better art and work faster in Illustrator. You’ll learn how to improve your skills with line art, shading using flat fills and colour techniques for limited palettes (to keep printing costs down). 

Joshua says that as his techniques are more about drawing vector shapes using the Pen tools than brush strokes, you’ll get better results from a mouse than a graphics tablet.

Time to complete 

4 hours


Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop CS3 or later

Project Files

(it’s free!)

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